This podcast covers Lesson 4 of the Graceful Living Bible Study.
The Gifts of the Cross, Part 2
Jesus was fully human and was tempted in every way that we are tempted but without sin. Why is that? Here’s the answer: Jesus lived in perfect love of God the Father. If you love God perfectly, you will never sin. Because He loved God perfectly, He lived in perfect dependence on God the Father. The result was perfect obedience to God the Father. Love for God leads you to greater dependency upon God, which results in grateful obedience to God as Jesus showed us.
Because of His great love for us—for you and for me, God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross. From that comes propitiation. His anger against sin was satisfied. He is no longer angry at you, dear believer, because of your sin. From the cross, comes reconciliation. You can dwell on the fact that the barrier of sin has been taken away and your relationship with God is restored. From the cross comes redemption. You have been purchased out of bondage and released into freedom from any entrapping sin and to serve God in obedience.
Word of the Cross #4 is Forgiveness. It means that “Your guilt has been taken away.”
- Forgiveness addresses our guilt of sin before a holy God. God’s answer is to take away the guilt. That happened on the cross when our guilt was transferred to Jesus Christ and taken away from us.
- Once you place your faith in Jesus Christ, the Bible says that whatever you have done that was wrong in God’s eyes from the time you were born through the time of your death has been canceled. Taken away. All of it. Past, present and future. Nailed to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14
- But, it’s even better than that. 2 Corinthians chapter 5 says that God is no longer counting our sins against us. They all go on Jesus. Only one sin separates any man or woman from eternal life with God—rejecting faith in Jesus Christ.
- Nowhere does Scripture teach that performing certain works (sometimes called “doing penance”) or punishing yourself will make restitution for sin. This practice focuses on human works in order to be forgiven, not the blood of Jesus and our relationship with Him.
- Because you’ve trusted Christ and are now found in Christ, you can know and live with confidence that you’ve been forgiven…no longer burdened by your sin and guilt.
Word of the Cross #5 is Justification. It means that “you are declared righteous in God’s eyes.”
- Justification is a legal term that means, “to declare not guilty.” Because of Christ's finished work on the cross, God chooses to give a “not guilty” status to anyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ. Not one human deserves this. It can never be earned. God gives this because Jesus paid the penalty for all sin.
- There are two aspects to justification. The first aspect is the removal of guilt from the offender. That’s forgiveness. The second aspect is the addition of righteousness to the one who believes. That’s justification. The two aspects together are called the “Great Exchange.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
- The amazing thing is that God does this while we are still capable of sinning! When God looks on you, He sees His Son’s righteousness taking the place of your sin—even your sin after you’ve been a believer for a long time.
- When you are tempted to think that God could not possibly accept you because of your weaknesses and guilty past, declare this to yourself: “Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I am declared righteous…no longer guilty in God’s eyes.” That’s a fact.
Word of the Cross #6 is Sanctification. It means to be “set apart as God's possession for His exclusive use.”
- God determines what He considers good. None of our little checklists measure up. The only human who was ever good enough for God was Jesus.
- To be sanctified means to be made holy—to be “set apart from anything evil.” By faith in Jesus Christ, God declares us holy in His sight. We are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3:27). When God looks on you and me, He sees Jesus and His righteousness, not all of our faults. His love chooses to do that for us.
- You have been set apart as God's special, beloved possession for His exclusive use.
- You are also “being made holy” in your thoughts, words, and actions by the work of the Holy Spirit. This is ongoing from the moment of salvation until the Lord comes or you die, when your “being made holy” is complete. We make choices that reflect our desire to set ourselves apart from sin and to God’s purposes for us. 2 Corinthians 7:1
- Because you’ve trusted in Christ and are now found in Him, you can know and live with confidence that you are set apart by God, for God. In His sight, you are perfected…no longer flawed.
All of these gifts are yours, dear believer! Because of Christ’s finished work on the cross, you receive wonderful gifts by faith in Him. Forgiveness, justification, and sanctification are treasures given by our loving God to us who believe.
Let Jesus satisfy your heart with His grace so that your life overflows with His grace every day. You will experience a life of freedom and joy!
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